Quality of Experience

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This article introduces a view of a generic Service Provider IP distribution system including DVB's IP standard; a comparison of Internet and managed SP IP video distribution; how a broadcaster can …

This article introduces a view of a generic Service Provider IP distribution system including DVB's IP standard; a comparison of Internet and managed SP IP video distribution; how a broadcaster can inject TV programming into the Internet and, finally, how to control the Quality of Experience of video in an IP network.

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  • 1. QUALITY OF SERVICE QoENetwork structures — the internet, IPTV andJeff Goldberg and Thomas KernenCisco SystemsHow would a broadcaster transmit TV transported over IP packets rather than usingtraditional broadcast methods?This article introduces a view of a generic Service Provider IP distribution systemincluding DVB’s IP standard; a comparison of Internet and managed Service ProviderIP video distribution; how a broadcaster can inject TV programming into the Internetand, finally, how to control the Quality of Experience of video in an IP network.Transport of broadcast TV services over Service Provider managedIP networksThe architecture of IP networks for the delivery of linear broadcast TV services looks similar to sometraditional delivery networks, being a type of secondary distribution network. The major componentsare: Super Head-End (SHE) – where feeds are acquired and ingested; Core transport network – where IP packets route from one place to another; Video Hub Office (VHO) – where the video servers IRT/RTE Video reside; Serving Office Home Video Serving Office gateway VoD Servers (VSO) – where access Super Head Home gateway network elements such as Live End the DSLAMs are aggre- Broadcast & VoD Home gateway gated; Asset Distribution IP/MPLS Aggregation Network Home gateway Core Access network – which takes the data to the home Home gateway Video – together with the home Hub VoD Servers Home gateway and the user’s Office gateway IRT/RTE set-top box (STB). Local Broadcast InsertionThe whole network, however, iscontrolled, managed and main- Figure 1tained by a single Service Broadcast TV over an SP-managed IP networkEBU TECHNICAL REVIEW – October 2007 1 / 11J. Goldberg and T. Kernen
  • 2. QUALITY OF SERVICEProvider (SP) which allows him to control all the requirements needed to deliver a reliable service tothe end point. These requirements are, for example, IP Quality of Service (QoS), bandwidth provi-sioning, failover paths and routing management. It is this management and control of service thatseparates a managed Service Provider IP delivery of video streams transported over the publicInternet.The Service Provider acquires the video source in multiple ways, some of which are the same as inother markets, such as DVB-S. This results in significant overhead as the DVB-S/S2/T/C IRDs andSDI handoffs from the broadcasters form a large part of the acquisition setup. It is therefore prefer-able to acquire content directly from another managed network using IP to the head-end, somethingthat is more efficient and becoming more common.Once the content has been acquired, descrambled and re-encoded, it is then carried as MPEG-2Transport Streams (TS) encapsulated into IP packets instead of the traditional ASI. The individualmulticast groups act as sources for the services which are then routed over the infrastructure,though in some highly secure cases, these may go through IP-aware bulk scramblers to providecontent protection. If security is important, then routers at the edge of the SHE will provide IPaddress and multicast group translation to help isolate the head-end from the IP/MPLS core trans-port network. Abbreviations AL Application Layer IP Internet Protocol ASI Asynchronous Serial Interface IPI Internet Protocol Infrastructure ATIS Alliance for Telecommunications Industry IPTV Internet Protocol Televison Solutions (USA) IRD Integrated Receiver/Decoder http://www.atis.org/ ISMA Internet Streaming Media Alliance AVC (MPEG-4) Advanced Video Coding http://www.isma.tv/ BER Bit Error Rate ITU International Telecommunication Union BGD Broadband Gateway Device http://www.itu.int CBR Constant Bit-Rate IXP Internet eXchange Point CoP4 (Pro-MPEG) Code of Practice 4 MDI Media Delivery Index DAVIC Digital Audio-Visual Council MLR Media Loss Rate DHCP Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol MPLS Multi Protocol Label Switching DLNA Digital Living Network Alliance MPTS Multi Programme Transport Stream http://www.dlna.org/home NGN Next Generation Network DNS Domain Name System NMS Network Management System DSG (CableLabs) DOCSIS Set-top Gateway QAM Quadrature Amplitude Modulation DSL Digital Subscriber Line QoE Quality of Experience http://www.dslforum.org/ QoS Quality of Service DVB Digital Video Broadcasting QPSK Quadrature (Quaternary) Phase-Shift Keying http://www.dvb.org/ RF Radio-Frequency DVB-C DVB - Cable RSVP ReSource reserVation Protocol DVB-H DVB - Handheld RTP Real-time Transport Protocol DVB-S DVB - Satellite RTSP Real-Time Streaming Protocol DVB-S2 DVB - Satellite, version 2 SDI Serial Digital Interface DVB-T DVB - Terrestrial SDV Switched Digital Video ETSI European Telecommunication Standards Insti- SHE Super Head End tute http://pda.etsi.org/pda/queryform.asp SP Service Provider FC Fast Convergence SPTS Single Programme Transport Stream FEC Forward Error Correction STB Set-Top Box FRR Fast Re-Route TE Traffic Engineering GUI Graphical User Interface TS (MPEG) Transport Stream HGI Home Gateway Initiative UDP User Datagram Protocol http://www.homegatewayinitiative.org/ UGD Uni-directional Gateway Device HNED Home Network End Device VBR Variable Bit-Rate HNN Home Network Node VHO Video Hub OfficeEBU TECHNICAL REVIEW – October 2007 2 / 11J. Goldberg and T. Kernen
  • 3. QUALITY OF SERVICEThe core network lies at the centre of transporting the stream to its destination but it is the recentdevelopments of high speed interfaces that have made it possible. The low cost and widely avail-able Gigabit Ethernet, the more expensive 10 Gigabit Ethernet and the swift 40 Gigabit interfacenow provide the ability for the core to transport both contribution and distribution video streams. Themodern optics used in these interfaces deliver Bit Error Rates (BERs) and latency that is lower thanthose of traditional transports such as satellite. These advantages, combined with an applicationlayer Forward Error Correction (FEC) scheme – such as the Pro-MPEG Forum Pro-MPEG Code ofPractice 4 (CoP4) and IP/MPLS Traffic Engineering (TE) – allow for redundant paths across thetransport infrastructure. These paths can be designed in such a way that the data flows without evercrossing the same node or link between two end points, and delivers seamless failover betweensources if the video equipment permits it. In addition, Fast Re-Route (FRR) and Fast Convergence(FC) reduce the network re-convergence time if a node or link fails to allow for swift recovery, shoulda path fail.The transport stream can also use the characteristics of any IP network to optimize the path andbandwidth usage. One of these characteristics is the ability of an IP network to optimally send thesame content to multiple nodes using IP Multicast, in a similar manner to a broadcast network. Thischaracteristic has many applications and has proven itself over a long time in the financial industry,where real-time data feeds that are highly sensitive to propagation delays are built upon IP multicast.It also allows monitoring and supervision equipment to join any of the multicast groups and providein-line analysis of the streams, both at the IP and Transport Stream level. These devices can bedistributed across the network in order to provide multiple measurement points for enriched analysisof service performance.The Video Hub Office (VHO) can act as a backup or a regional content insertion point but also maybe used to source streams into the transport network. This sourcing can be done because of anovel multicast mechanism called IP Anycast, which enables multiple sources to be viewed by theSTB as one single and unique source, using the network to determine source prioritization andallowing for source failover without the need of reconfiguration.Primary and secondary distribution over IPThe bandwidth of individual or collective services in primary distribution between a studio or aplayout centre and the secondary distribution hubs is traditionally limited by the availability and costof bandwidth from circuits such as DS-3 (45 Mbit/s) or STM-1 (155 Mbit/s). This has restricted thedelivery of higher bitrate services to such hubs that may benefit from a less compressed source.The flexibility of IP and Ethernet removes these limitations and enables services to be deliveredusing lower compression and/or with added services. This means that delivery over an IP infrastruc-ture is now possible: to earth stations for satellite (DVB-S/S2) based services; IPTV (DVB-IPI) or cable (DVB-C) head-ends; terrestrial (DVB-T) or handheld (DVB-H) transmitting stations.We shall now look at two examples of this: firstly, Cable distribution and, secondly, IP distribution viaDVB’s IPI standard.Example 1: Cable distributionCable distribution typically follows a similar pattern to primary and secondary distribution, with themajor exception being the use of coaxial cable over the last mile. IP as a transport for secondarydistribution in systems such as DVB-C has already been deployed on a large scale by differentnetworks around the globe. Multiple Transport Streams (MPTS) are run as multicast groups to theedge of the aggregation network where edge “QAMs” receive the IP services and modulate themonto RF carriers for delivery to cable STBs.EBU TECHNICAL REVIEW – October 2007 3 / 11J. Goldberg and T. Kernen
  • 4. QUALITY OF SERVICEThe modulation onto RF carriers can be done in one of two ways: by translating a digital broadcastchannel to the STB or by using a cable modem built into the STB to deliver it directly over IP. In thelatter case, as it is a true IP system, the distribution could use DVB IPI described previously withoutany modification.Today, almost all of the STBs have no cable modem internally so the IP stream terminates in thehub-site closest to the STB and even if they did, the data infrastructure is often separate from thevideo infrastructure. This separation is beginning to change as cable data modems become muchcheaper and the data infrastructure costs become lower. An in-between stage is emerging wheremost of the broadcast channels are as before, but some of the little-used channels are sent via IP,known as “Switched Digital Video” (SDV). The consumer notices little difference between aSwitched Digital Video channel and a standard digital cable channel since the servers and QAMs inthe hub and/or regional head-ends do all the work. The SDV servers respond to channel-changerequests from subscriber STBs, command QAM devices to join the required IP multicast groups toaccess the content, and provide the STBs with tuning information to satisfy the requests. Thecontrol path for SDV requests from the STB is over DOCSIS (DSG), or alternatively over the DAVIC/QPSK path. In some designs, encryption for SDV can also take place at the hub in a bulk-encryptor,so minimizing edge-QAM encryption-key processing and thus speeding up the channel-changeprocess.Example 2: IP distribution to the STB via DVB IPIDVB has had a technical ad-hoc committee (TM-IPI) devoted to IP distribution to the STB since2000 with a remit to provide a standard for the IP interface connected to the STB. In contrast toother standards bodies and traditional broadcast methodology, it is starting at the STB and workingoutwards.In the time since TM-IPI started, many groups around the world have discovered IP and decided tostandardize it (see Fig. 2). The standards bodies shown are: Contribution Network Distribution Network Access Networks Home Network Studio Studio IP STB Home Gateway Primary Final Head Secondary Studio End STB Head Ends IP IP Backbone IP STB Mobile Studio Fixed Studio Figure 2 IPTV-related activities of selected standardization bodiesEBU TECHNICAL REVIEW – October 2007 4 / 11J. Goldberg and T. Kernen
  • 5. QUALITY OF SERVICE DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) for the home network – see also the section “The Home Network and IP Video”; HGI (The Home Gateway Initiative) for the standards surrounding the residential gateway between the broadband connection and the in-home network; ISMA (The Internet Streaming Media Alliance) for the transmission of AVC video over IP; DSL Forum for the standards surrounding DSL and remote management of in-home devices including STBs and residential gateways; ITU which, via the IPTV Focus Group, is standardizing the distribution and access network architecture; ETSI which, via the NGN initiative, is standardizing the IP network carrying the IPTV; ATIS which, via the ATIS IPTV Interoperability Forum (ATIS-IIF), is standardizing the end-to- end IPTV architecture including contribution and distribution.Nevertheless, the DVB-IPI standard does mandate some requirements on the end-to-end system(see Fig. 3), including: The transmission of an MPEG-2 Transport Stream over either RTP/UDP or (opt) Network Provisioning DHCP DNS Servers over direct UDP. The Server Servers method of direct UDP was introduced in the 1.3.1 Time HNED Servers IP Network version of the handbook. DNG Home Network Previous versions only SD&S used RTP, and the use of Servers SD&S CoD Live Media Servers SD&S Servers AL-FEC requires the use CoD Servers Servers Servers Live CoD of RTP. Servers Media Servers Live Media Key: Service Discovery and Servers HNED – Home Network End Device (e.g. STB) Selection either using DNG – Delivery Network Gateway (e.g. Modem) CoD – Content on Demand (e.g. Video on Demand) existing DVB System Infor- SD&S – Service Discovery and Selection mation, or an all-IP method such as the Broadband Figure 1 Content Guide. DVB-IP version 1.3 Architecture Control of content on demand using the RTSP protocol. The use of DHCP to communicate some parameters such as network time, DNS servers etc. to the STB.It is normal in IPI to use single-programme transport streams (SPTS) as the content are normallyindividually encoded and not multiplexed into MPTS as they would be for other distribution networks.This provides the added flexibility of only sending the specifically-requested channel to the end user,which is important when the access network is a 4 Mbit/s DSL network as it reduces bandwidthusage.IPTV and Internet TV convergenceThe two worlds of managed STB and unmanaged Internet TV are coming together with sites likeYouTube or MySpace showing user-generated content and excerpts from existing TV programming.Internet TV demonstrates what can be done with an unmanaged network across a diversity ofdifferent networks, including one in the home. In this section we’ll cover what the home network willlook like, compare IPTV to Internet TV, and show how a broadcaster can place content on theInternet via an Internet Exchange.EBU TECHNICAL REVIEW – October 2007 5 / 11J. Goldberg and T. Kernen
  • 6. QUALITY OF SERVICEThe Home Network and IP VideoImproving technologies of wire-less networks, increases in hard- HNED examples: IP STB, PVRdisk-drive sizes and the increas- External uni-directional IP STB + PVRing number of flat-screen TVs in access Network (e.g. Uni-directional NAS, … DVB-S) Network (e.g. DVB-S)European households, makes thehome network inevitable in the HNEDnear future. Unfortunately the UGD HNEDhome network still remains moreof promise than reality for high-quality broadcast TV transmis- UGD HNED Home Networksion, mainly because the stand- UGD examples:ards and interoperability are some Satellite receivers HNED NNway behind. Terrestrial receivers HNN … HNN examples:DVB has just released a Home Switch HNEDNetwork reference model which is Access Pointthe first part of a comprehensive …specification which will be BGD BGDcompleted in 2008. The homenetwork consists of several BGD examples:devices (See Fig. 4): Residential External Bi-directional gateway Broadband Gateway Device External Bi-directional Broadband access Network (e.g. (BGD) – The residential gate- ID RD Network (e.g. Internet) Internet) modem way or modem connected to RD examples: … Mobile phone the IP Service Provider, usu- PC@work, … ally via either cable or DSL. Uni-directional Gateway Figure 4 Device (UGD) – A one way DVB IPI Home Network Reference Architecture device that converts broad- cast TV to a stream on the home network. For example a DVB-T tuner that converts the stream to IP and sends it wire- lessly over the home network. Home Network End Device (HNED) – The display, controlling and/or storage device for the streams received either via the BGD or UGD. Home Network Node (HNN) – The device, for example a switch or Wireless Access Point, that connects the home network together.The Home Network Reference Model, available as a separate DVB Blue Book, is based on workdone by the DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance). DLNA already has existing devices that dostream video over the home network but from sources within the network. The DVB Home Networkis the first that integrates both programming from broadcast TV and in-home generated video.Comparison of Internet video and IPTVAlthough IPTV and Internet-based video services share the same underlying protocol (IP), don’t letthat deceive you: distribution and management of those services are very different.In an IPTV environment, the SP has a full control over the components that are used to deliver theservices to the consumer. This includes the ability to engineer the network’s quality and reliability;the bitrate and codec used by the encoder to work best with the limited number of individuallymanaged STBs; the ability to simplify and test the home network components for reliability andquality; and prevention of unnecessary wastage of bandwidth, for example by enabling end-to-endIP Multicast.EBU TECHNICAL REVIEW – October 2007 6 / 11J. Goldberg and T. Kernen
  • 7. QUALITY OF SERVICEControl over the delivery model doesn’t exist with Internet video services. For example, IP Multicastdeployments on the Internet are still very limited, mostly to research and academic networks. Thismeans that Internet-streamed content services use either simple unicast-based streams between agiven source and destination or a Peer-to-Peer (P2P) model which will send and receive data frommultiple sources at the same time.One of the other main differences is the control of the required bandwidth for the delivery of theservice. A Service Provider controls the bitrate and manages the QoS required to deliver theservice, which allows it to control the buffering needed in an STB to ensure the audio and videodecoders don’t overrun or underrun, resulting in artefacts being shown to the end user. Internetvideo cannot control the bitrate so it must compensate by implementing deeper buffers in thereceiver or attempting to request data from the closest and least congested servers or nodes, toreduce latency and packet loss. In the peer-to-peer model, lack of available bandwidth from thedifferent nodes, due to limited upstream bandwidth to the Internet, enforces the need for larger andmore distant “supernodes” to compensate which, overall, makes the possibility of packet loss higherso increasing the chance of a video artefact.The decoding devices in the uncontrolled environment of Internet TV also limit encoding efficiency.The extremely diverse hardware and software in use to receive Internet video services tend to limitthe commonalities between them. H.264, which is a highly efficient codec but does require appro-priate hardware and/or software resources for decoding, is not ubiquitous in today’s deployed envi-ronment. MPEG-2 video and Adobe Flash tend to be the main video players that are in use, neitherbeing able to provide the same picture quality at the equivalent bitrates to H.264.Challenges of integration with Internet Video servicesInternet Video services are growing very fast. The diversity of the content on offer, the ease ofadding new content and the speed with which new services can be added is quite a challenge formanaged IPTV services. This leads to the managed IPTV service providers wanting to combine thetwo types of IP services on the same STB.The most natural combination is the “Hybrid” model which has both types of services, probably byintegrating the peer-to-peer client within the SP’s STB. This would allow for collaboration betweenthe two services and would benefit the users by allowing them to view the Internet video content ona TV rather than a computer. The Service Provider would then make sure that the Internet videostreams obtain the required bandwidth within the network, perhaps even hosting nodes or cachingcontent within the Service Provider network to improve delivery. They may even transcode theInternet TV content to provide a higher quality service that differentiates itself from the Internetversion.This “Hybrid” model offers collaboration but may still incur some limitations. The Internet TV serv-ices might be able to be delivered to the STB but the amount of memory, processing and increasedsoftware complexity might make it too difficult within the existing STB designs. This would increasethe cost of the unit and therefore impact the business models, whilst competition between such serv-ices may lock out specific players from this market due to exclusive deals.How can a broadcaster get content into an Internet Video service?First some Internet history: Today, the Internet is known worldwide as a “magical” way to send e-mails, videos and other critical data to anywhere in the world. This “magic” is not really magic at all,but some brilliant engineering based on a network of individual networks, so allowing the Internet toscale over a period of time to cover the entire world, and continue to grow. This network of networksis actually a mesh of administratively independent networks that are interconnected directly or indi-rectly across a packet switching network based on a protocol (IP) that was invented for this purpose.EBU TECHNICAL REVIEW – October 2007 7 / 11J. Goldberg and T. Kernen
  • 8. QUALITY OF SERVICEThe Internet model of a network of networks with everyone connected to everyone individually wasfine until the cost and size of bandwidth became too high, and the management of individual linksbecame too difficult. This started the movement towards Internet Exchange Points (IXP) which mini-mized connections and traffic going across multiple points by allowing the Service Providers toconnect to a central point rather than individually connecting to each other. One of the first was atMAE-East in Tyson’s Corner in Virginia, USA, but today they exist across Europe with LINX inLondon, AMS-IX in Amsterdam and DE-CIX in Frankfurt being among the largest and most estab-lished ones.The Internet Exchange Point, by interconnecting directly with other networks, means that databetween those networks has no need to transit via their upstream SPs. Depending on the volumeand destinations, this results in reduced latency and jitter between two end points, reducing the costof the transit traffic, and ensuring that traffic stays as local as possible. It also establishes a directadministrative and mutual support relationship between the parties, which can have better controlover the traffic being exchanged.Being at the centre of the exchange traffic means that IXPs can allow delivery of other servicesdirectly over the IXP or across private back-to-back connections between the networks. Today, thisis how many Voice-over-IP and private IP-based data feeds are exchanged.This also makes the IXP an ideal place for Broadcasters to use such facilities to establish relation-ships with SPs to deliver linear or non-linear broadcast services to their end users. The independ-ence of the IXP from the Service Provider also allows content aggregation, wholesale or white-labelled services, to be developed and delivered via the IXP. For example, the BBC in collaborationwith ITV is delivering a broadcast TV channel line-up to the main broadband SPs in the UK. Theyalso provide such a service for radio in collaboration with Virgin Radio, EMAP and GCA. Thisservice has been running for a couple of years and has been shortlisted for an IBC 2007 Awardwithin the “Innovative application of technology in content delivery” category.Quality of Experience Highlights of the main areas STBThe Quality of Experience Fast Channel A/V decode buffers, Lip sync,(QoE), as defined by ETSI Change, Output interfaces A/V RSVP CACTISPAN TR 102 479, is the Encoding IRT/RTEuser-perceived experience of Central/End Home Officeswhat is being presented by a A/V VoD Servers gateway Encoding Supercommunication service or appli- FEC Head Home gateway End Districtcation user interface. This is Live Offices Homehighly subjective and takes into Broadcast IP/MPLS Metro gateway & VoD Aggregationaccounts many different factors Asset Core Network Home gateway Distributionbeyond the quality of the MW Servers Homeservice, such as service pricing, gateway EPG info quality Central/Endviewing environment, stress GUI design VoD Servers Office Home gatewaylevel and so on. In an IP IRT/RTE Network Elements VODnetwork, given the diversity and Delay, jitter, Server load Home networking packet ordering Delay, jitter, packetmultiplicity of the network, this distribution orderingis more difficult and thereforemore critical to success than in Figure 5other transports (see Fig. 5). IPTV QoE in the end-to-end modelSubjective and Objective requirementsSubjective measurement systems, such as ITU-R BT.500-11, provide a detailed model for picture-quality assessment by getting a panel of non-expert viewers to compare video sequences and ratethem on a given scale. This requires considerable resources to set up and perform the testing, so itEBU TECHNICAL REVIEW – October 2007 8 / 11J. Goldberg and T. Kernen
  • 9. QUALITY OF SERVICEtends to be used for comparing video codecs, bitrates, resolutions and encoder performances.An IP network operator cannot have a team of humans sitting looking at pictures to assess picturequality, particularly with the number of channels these days. They therefore test quality with auto-mated measurement systems which provide real-time monitoring and reporting within the networkand services infrastructure. The measurement systems usually use some subjective human input tocorrelate a baseline that objective measurement methods can be mapped to. An operator usuallydeploys probes at critical points in the network which report back to the Network ManagementSystem (NMS) a set of metrics that will trigger alarms based on predefined thresholds.When compared to a traditional broadcast environment, video services transported over an IP infra-structure introduce extra monitoring requirements. The two main categories of requirements are: IP transport network Whilst transporting the services, IP packets will cross multiple nodes in the network(s) – possibly subjected to packet delay, jitter, reordering and loss. Video transport stream (MPEG-2 TS) Traditional TS-monitoring solutions must also be used to ensure the TS packets are free of errors.The two categories are also usually in different departments: the IP transport monitoring is within theNetwork Operations Centre, and the video transport stream monitoring within the TV distributioncentre. One of the keys to a good Quality of Experience in IP is sometimes just good communica-tion and troubleshooting across the different departments.Finally, although this is beyond the scope of network-based management, additional measurementsshould be taken into account in a full system, such as the following: Transactional – GUI and channel change response time, service reliability. Payload (A/V compression) – Compression standards compliance, coding artefacts. Display (A/V decoding) – Colour space conversion, de-blocking, de-interlacing, scaling.Measurement methodsThe main measurement methodology for the IP transport network is the Media Delivery Index (MDI)as defined in IETF RFC 4445. MDI is broken down into two sub-components: Delay Factor (DF) andMedia Loss Rate (MLR) which are both measured over a sample period of one second. The nota-tion for the index is DF:MLR.DF determines the jitter introduced by the inter-arrival time between packets. This shouldn’t beviewed as an absolute value but is relative to a measurement at a given point in the network. Jittercan be introduced at different points by encoders, multiplexers, bulk scramblers, network nodes orother devices. It is important is to know what the expected DF value should be, which can be deter-mined by a baseline measurement in ideal operating conditions. The value can change dependenton the stream type: Constant Bitrate (CBR) streams should have a fixed inter-arrival time whilst Vari-able Bitrate (VBR) streams will have a varying value. Once a baseline value has been determined,you normally set a trigger significantly above this value before alerting via an alarm.MLR provides the number of TS packets lost within a sample period. This is achieved by monitoringthe Continuity Counters within the TS.If the stream contains an RTP header, the sequence number can be used for identifying out-of-sequence or missing packets without the need to examine the IP packet payload. This will reducethe computational requirements and speed up the monitoring process. It is normal therefore todistribute MDI probes across the IP forwarding path to allow supervision on a hop-per-hop basis.This helps troubleshoot potential issues introduced by a specific network element.EBU TECHNICAL REVIEW – October 2007 9 / 11J. Goldberg and T. Kernen
  • 10. QUALITY OF SERVICETo complement the IP packet metrics, DVB-M ETSI TR 101 290 (ETR 290) is used to provide insightwithin the transport stream itself. This operates in the same way as in a traditional ASI-based infra-structure.The combination of MDI and ETR 290 delivers a scalable and cost-effective method for identifyingtransport-related issues. By triggering alarms at the IP and TS level, these can be aggregated andcorrelated within the NMS to produce a precise reporting tool between different events and theirinsertion point within the network infrastructure.Improving QoE with FEC and retransmissionDVB has considerable experience in error-correction and concealment schemes for various environ-ments, so it was natural – given the difficulty of delivering video over DSL – that the IPI ad-hoc groupshould work in this area. They spent a significant time considering all aspects of error protection,including detailed simulations of various forward error correction (FEC) schemes and quality ofexperience (QoE) requirements.The result is an optional layered protocol, based on a combination of two FEC codes – a base layerand one or more optional enhancement layers. The base layer is a simple packet-based interleavedXOR parity code based on Pro-MPEG COP3 (otherwise known as SMPTE standard 2022-1 via theVideo Services Forum, see http://www.videoservicesforum.org/activities.shtml) and theenhancement layer is based on Digital Fountain’s Raptor FEC code (http://www.digitalfoun-tain.com). It allows for simultaneous support of the two FEC codes which are combined at thereceiver to achieve error correction performance better than a single code alone.FEC has been used success-fully in many instances; 2however, another technique in SendsIP can also be used to repair Message to RET servererrors: RTP retransmission. 1 3This works via the sequence STB RET server Re-transmits Detectscounter that is in every RTP Packet Loss STB Missing Packetheader that is added to each IP 4 DSLAMpacket of the video stream. (Multicast Stream ONLY)The STB counts the sequence Assumes Primarycounter and if it finds one or Sourcemore missing then it sends amessage to the retransmissionserver which replies with themissing packets. If it is a multi-cast stream that needs to be Figure 6retransmitted then the retrans- IPTV QoE in the end to end modelmission server must cache afew seconds of the stream in order to send the retransmitted packets (see Fig. 6).Bandwidth reservation per sessionOne of the advantages of IP is the ability to offer content on demand, for example Video on Demand(VoD). This is resulting in a change in consumer behaviour: from watching linear broadcasts toviewing unscheduled content, thus forcing a change in network traffic. This makes correspondingdemands on the IP infrastructure as the number of concurrent streams across the managed IPTVinfrastructure can vary from thousands to hundreds of thousands of concurrent streams. Thesestreams will have different bandwidth requirements and lifetime, dependent on the nature of thecontent which is being transported between the source streamers playing out the session, acrossthe network infrastructure to the STB.EBU TECHNICAL REVIEW – October 2007 10 / 11J. Goldberg and T. Kernen
  • 11. QUALITY OF SERVICEThe largest requirement is to Video on Demandprevent packet loss due to Policy Server 2congestion, which can be VoD Requestprevented if the network is RSVP-CACmade aware of these sessions VoD Serversand makes sure enough band- 1 VoD Request Available Available Available Request 4 Denied/Accepted Bandwidth 3 Bandwidthwidth is available whenever Bandwidth Check Check Checksetting up a new stream. Ifthere isn’t enough bandwidth, Figure 7then the network must prevent Connection Admission Controlthe creation of new streams –otherwise all the connected users along that path will have a degraded viewing experience (Fig. 7).RSVP CAC (based on RFC2205, updated by RFC2750, RFC3936 and RFC4495) allows for per-session bandwidth reservation to be established across the data path that will carry a given session.Step 1 & 2 in Fig. 7 show the VoD session starting between the STB and the middleware. Theauthorization credentials will be checked to make sure that the customer can play the content, basedon a set of criteria such as credit, content rating, geography and release dates. Once these opera-tions are authorized by the middleware and billing system, the middleware or VoD system manageridentifies the VoD streaming server for this session. In step 3, the server initiates a request for anRSVP reservation path between the two end points across the RSVP-aware network infrastructure.Finally, in step 4, if the bandwidth is available then the session can be initiated; otherwise a negativeresponse will be sent to the middleware to provide a customized response to the customer.ConclusionsDelivery by IP of broadcast-quality video is here today and is being implemented by many broad-casters around the world. The nature of IP as a connectionless and non-deterministic transportmechanism makes planning, architecting and managing the network appropriately, which can bedone with careful application of well-known IP engineering. When the IP network is the widerInternet, the lack of overall control makes guaranteed broadcast-level quality difficult to obtain,whereas on a managed IP network, Quality of Service techniques, monitoring and redundancy canbe used to ensure broadcast-level quality and reliability.The techniques to monitor video are similar to the ones used for any MPEG-2 transport stream.However, these need to be related to the IP layer, for example using MDI, as debugging the problemwill often require both network and video diagnostics. Thomas Kernen is a Consulting Engineer working for Cisco Systems’ Central Con- sulting Group in Europe. He works on Video-over-IP with broadcasters, telecoms operators and IPTV Service Providers, defining the architectures and video transmis- sion solutions. Before working for Cisco, he spent ten years with different telecoms operators, including three years with an FTTH triple play operator, for which he developed their IPTV architecture. Mr Kernen is a member of the IEEE, SMPTE and active in the AVC group within the DVB Forum. Jeff Goldberg is a Technical Leader working for a Chief Technology Officer within Cisco. He has been working on IPTV, IP STB design and home networking since 1999, and has been working for Cisco since 1994. He was part of the founding group of DVB-IPI and has been working on it ever since, particu- larly on the home networking, reliability, Quality of Service and remote management parts. Before working for Cisco he designed handheld devices and PC software.EBU TECHNICAL REVIEW – October 2007 11 / 11J. Goldberg and T. Kernen